LifeisXbox’s Shredders review | The long-awaited snowboard game is finally here! Xbox has been spotlighting this console exclusive title for quite some time, even giving it prominent attention in their video reels where it appeared next to Halo Infinite.
Shredders is made by FoamPunch, a new company that consists of the Swedish studio LetItRoll as well as the Belgian team from I-Illusions (famous for Space Pirate Trainer). I’ve had the honour of meeting and talking to the Belgian team on multiple occasions (they’re an awesome bunch!), but I went into Shredders completely blind without having played a preview build at an earlier stage, so I didn’t really have an idea on what to expect.
All I knew going in, was that Shredders focuses more on the realistic execution of tricks like Amped, and less on the racing cornerstone found in SSX or Riders Republic. So let’s hop on our boards and see where the slopes take us…
Most Memorable Moment
There are a few set piece moments that aim to amp up the excitement, but the one that vibed with me the most was the nighttime boarding with flares being shot off around you. It made for a super chill experience!
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by Foampunch, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- It’s snowboarding | Stating the obvious, are we? Well yeah, but there’s no denying there is something absolutely magical about shredding down mountains covered with sweet powdery snow. The base experience of rushing down a hill while performing tricks is never not exciting, and I instantly wanted to grab my own winter gear and leave on a ski-trip myself.
- The snow | They really nailed the feeling and look of the snow: trails from previous shredders, different types from soft pillowy snow to hard, tracked ones made by a snowplough. Kicking up a cloud of the white goodness as you make turns and jump off ramps scratches an itch I forgot I had.
- Easy fast-travel | Shredders makes it really easy to see which challenges you’ve already completed and offers a fast-travel option to any mission, so you’ll be exactly where you want to be in no time. The loading times are also amazing on the Xbox Series X with hardly a wait in between.
- Sleds & Winches | To pick up some speed in certain locations, you can call in a sled or use winches in fixed positions. It’s a nice touch and helps you get some mad air.
- The collectables | Spread throughout the world are smiley icons that you can collect to earn new gear for your riders. You’ll have to master the control over your boarder to reach most of these, which does add some much-needed longevity to Shredders.
- Goofy narrative | Shredders doesn’t take itself too seriously and will often break the fourth wall, reminding everyone that we’re playing a videogame. The presentation is intentionally over the top, with boarding slang thrown about in all the dialogues. Some people I’ve talked to who were also reviewing it weren’t too big a fan and skipped them, but I found it to hit the perfect note between campy fun and cringe.
- Famous boarders | There are a ton of famous snowboards lending their name and voice to Shredders, which I’m sure is a huge boon for fans of the sport. I can’t say that any of their names sounded familiar to me personally, but it’s awesome how so many of them wanted to collaborate. BUT… It’s too bad they all look alike. Every single character in the game looks the same with glasses, a beanie and a ski mask covering their faces.
- The voice acting | I instantly recognized Scotty’s voice as the one from Chris Hanney, a former Australian gem of a human (honestly, he’s one of the nicest people I know) who migrated to Belgium to come work on games with his buddy and co-worker Dirk. His delivery as a snow-bro is perfect, but some of the famous boarders’ lines come off as a bit too awkward and rehearsed. Added to this is that the audio isn’t properly mixed and you can tell at all times that it’s recorded in an ambient-free recording studio. Having the voices appear further in the distance during missions, instead of right in your ears, would have gone a long way towards more immersion. First time ever I hear the Dutch expression “Potvolkoffie” in a game though, so props to that!
- Music | While Shredders doesn’t seem to have a huge soundtrack, the ones present here fit the vibe nicely. There are a lot of chill tunes that fit the more relaxing scenes well, but I’m missing a few heart pumping beats for when it tries to ramp up the excitement.
- Multiplayer | There is a multiplayer component, but I couldn’t really figure out yet what added value it brings. It seems to show you other boarders on the slopes, but I couldn’t find a way to challenge them or participate in the same events as the other online players. This aspect of the game will be fine-tuned in a later build and hence it won’t factor in for the scoring of this review.
- The length | Shredders is not a very long or meaty experience. I managed to beat the final mission in about three hours of playing and at four to five hours in, I had done all side missions as well. You can get some extra mileage out of going for 100% but the skill-barrier kept me from attempting those. I had two to three stars in most missions, but the ones where you need to perform a specific trick eluded me. The length and ease of beating the main narrative make this a perfect Xbox Game Pass title, however!
What we Disliked
- Performance & Issues | I’m playing on the Xbox Series X, but I could still see some snow being loaded onto the treetops as I was boarding down the hills or even getting a few frame drops when things got too hectic. The review build also had some minor issues like seeing the tracks of boarders carved out on the snow ahead of them (happened twice) or the boarders themselves floating a few feet above the ground (happened once). The worst issue I encountered was getting stuck in the menu screen after failing a mission, but all these issues have been reported already and should be in the day one patch or another one following closely after.
- Controlling your boarder | This is a HIGHLY personal opinion, but I had a hard time making my character end up exactly where I needed him to be, both on the track itself, as well as in speed/height when trying to reach collectables or certain mission objectives. I spent half an hour trying to perfectly line up a jump onto some ski-lift cables and failing over and over again. I blame most of this on my own skill however, I’m more used to arcady titles where the game assists your jumps somewhat and makes you snap more easily to grinds.
- Focus on tricks | Again, this is 100% personal, but I get a bigger kick out of racing at high speeds than I do out of perfect trick execution. There are also a ton of technical names for all the techniques you can pull off, but you might as well be talking a different language if you ask me to perform a triple corkscrew 1440 melon or whatever.
- It fails to excite | There are a few set piece moments that really hit the nail, like when you’re shredding down the slopes, racing a van to the finish line while performing tricks, but most of them set too high expectations. Early on you have to jump through the O’s of a giant sign and later in the game you’ll have to grind across a festival stage, but the execution failed to truly make you feel that same rush that the in-game characters seem to experience.
Want to get a better feel for the game? Watch the first hour here:
How long to beat the story | 3-4 hours
How long to get all achievements | 8-10 hours (depending on your skill)
Robby lives and breathes video games. When he’s not playing them, he’s talking about them on social media or convincing other people to pick up a controller themselves. He’s online so often, he could practically list the internet as his legal domicile. Belgian games-industry know-it-all.